Count Nutrients, Not Calories

Count Nutrients, Not Calories

Breaking down the calorie fallacy: We no longer need to count calories for optimal health
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Calories are often the preferred measurement of how we gain or lose weight.

The popular message is that the way to lose weight is to consume less energy (reduce our calories) or burn more energy (increase our calories out).

What if I told you that rather than worrying about counting calories or trying to out-train your food choices, you could eat incredibly tasty food whilst moving in a way that doesn't put stress on your body at any age or fitness level.

There's a few reasons why, as a trainer for so many years, I have seen the old methodology so difficult for most people.

Firstly, the lack of willpower, time or lifestyle to remain in a calorie deficit long-term, whilst also trying to manage cravings that an increased level of exercise places on your body.

The more you move, the more your body seeks nourishment. So initially you lose weight, but your body soon wakes up to the change and starts using less energy, meaning slowed weight loss.

Combine that with the cravings an increased level of exercise adds to your system, plus the stress surrounding the unsustainable nature of counting and balancing each and everything that passes through your mouth…

You are setting yourself up for that yo-yo swing of results that are often short-lived, short-term, and certainly not delicious, satisfying or intuitive.

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Let’s break it down so it’s super simple.

It’s the type of food, not the number of calories that we should be focusing on. To truly set ourselves up for enjoying our food whilst achieving long-term sustainable health and happiness, we need to switch our thinking to become intuitive eaters and remove the stress around each mouthful.

Consider this:

100 calories of ice cream and 100 calories of cauliflower could not seriously be compared or considered nutritionally equal in anyway. Our weight and our ability to lose it long-term and in a sustainable way is determined not just by the quantity in the form of a number measurement of energy, but the quality. If you can find the balance and proportion between your healthy fats, well-sourced proteins and smart carbs, you are setting yourself up for delicious, long-term success.

Why we lower our carbs and increase our healthy fats and well sourced proteins:

When we eat sugar and refined carbs, they are broken down to glucose in the gut, the glucose then absorbing into the bloodstream.

In response, the pancreas secretes insulin to move glucose out of the blood and into the liver and muscles, where it is stored as glycogen.

What happens though, is once the glycogen stores are full, insulin stores any excess glucose as fat. Therefore, when we consume processed and refined foods in excess, regardless of the number of calories, we set ourselves up to store more body fat.

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It comes down to balancing our macronutrients to manage our insulin response.

We don't eat calories. We eat nutrients. Which is why balancing them can take the stress out of counting and put the focus on quality over quantity.

On one end of the spectrum we have empty calorie foods, these are those that provide energy but lack any accompanying nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and fibre. Avoid these and steer towards nutrient dense real foods!

In other words, rather than counting calories, choose foods that have nutrients proportionate to its energy content. Nutrient dense foods contain the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, amino acids and fibre required to function optimally, naturally burn fat and feel great.

So remember:

  • Not all calories are created equal.
  • Calories in, calories out is not the answer for long term, enjoyable or positive weight loss.
  • Managing your insulin is a game changer to prevent excess carbohydrates being stored as fat.
  • Fill your plate with healthy fats, palm-size of well-sourced protein, and smart carbs from vegetables and fruit.
  • Looking after yourself with real food should be enjoyable and sustainable long term.
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Looking for delicious ways to look and feel your best?

My Luke Hines 10 Online Program provides you with 10 structured weeks of Meals, Mindset and Moves. 


With over 200 nutrient dense meals, a complete mindfulness and wellbeing program, and daily 10 minute moves, this is a long term sustainable approach to burning fat, increasing lean muscle mass and feeling great.



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